New York Times Op-Ed on how anger at the British has turned to disgust since Brexit.
London-based Irish writer Megan Nolan has written a powerful and profound Op-Ed piece in The New York Times on how her attitude to the British has turned into anger and disgust given their disdain for the Irish. Her piece is entitled “I Didn’t Hate the English — Until Now.”
She writes “There was an idea not so long ago, even among many Irish, that it was time to move on. We were all going to be European together forever, after all, and we ought to at least try to smooth over our differences.”
Post-Brexit, however, she says “The extent to which many English people are ignorant about Ireland has become painfully clear.”
She notes that Irish concerns about a hard border leading to a resumption of The Troubles are casually dismissed as “this Irish stuff” by the likes of the former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith as late as last winter, even as people on both sides of the border pleaded for a solution.
Nolan notes that “the secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, recently admitted with startling candor that she didn’t know basic facts about the politics of the region where she is in charge: that nationalists — those who seek a united Ireland — won’t vote for unionist parties, and vice versa.”
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She notes that “A leading hard border advocate “ Jacob Rees-Mogg, the arcane M.P. who looks as though he has been extracted from the nightmare of a Victorian child, has suggested bringing back border checks “as we had during the Troubles.”
Nolan states “There was a time once, or so the fantasy went, when “The Irish Question seemed more or less resolved.” But that was post-Brexit.
However, she notes that “Post-Brexit, however, this relatively recent sense of equanimity is being put to the test.”
She says “The extent to which many English people are ignorant about Ireland has become painfully clear. Crucial questions about how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic — a border abolished in the Good Friday Agreement, the reintroduction of which would be inextricably associated with the preceding decades of violence and unrest — remain unresolved, months before Brexit is slated to become official.”
She says Irish people are losing faith in the British. “In the midst of all this, I’ve noticed a tonal shift in the way I and other Irish people speak about the English. Our anger is more sincere. We are more ready to call them out on all those centuries of excess, more likely to object to those pink-trousered, pink-faced dinosaurs who still perceive us as their inferiors. “
She concludes: “How much they don’t know about the past and if they do know, how little they care. It’s a strange and maddening thing to discover about the people who shaped your country’s fate and who are poised to do so again.